Her Story: Crohn's Disease and Medical Withdrawal

Having lived with the disease in relative harmony for three years, it wasn’t immediately apparent that the reason I was hunched over in my car crying, clutching my stomach, and occasionally screaming, was because of my Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease, for those of you who don’t know, is an incurable (which is great for insurance) autoimmune disease (debatable) for which doctors have no idea of the causes, only the correlations. Symptoms include a myriad of digestive ailments including constipation, intestinal narrowing, abscesses, and fistulas to name a few. Crohn’s Disease, to put it indelicately, makes life shitty. You’d think that severe stomach pains would have tipped me off that the ol’ tummy troubles were back, but I was in denial as deep as a river in Egypt.

Fast forward a couple months, and I’d been hospitalized a few times, got some intestines cut out, and kissed spring semester goodbye the hard way—I withdrew from all but one of my classes. Oh, and a heads up: if you need to withdraw from your classes, do it the day of the withdrawal deadline or you can kiss most of your Bright Futures goodbye. I did it at 11:10 the night before and boy do I wish I’d waited an extra fifty minutes!

I felt as if I’d wasted a whole semester. We’d barely hit February before my intestinal irritation put me out of commission. As a transfer student, I knew that every credit counted, and having to essentially throw four classes in the trash was a hurt just as bad as the one in my stomach. I kissed my 2017 graduation date goodbye and came to terms with the fact that I’d have to bite the bullet, taking smaller course loads, and set my sights on 2018—a full year behind my original goal.

Well, dang, Audi: that’s pretty awful. When does it get, y’know, not depressing?

I’m glad you asked, hypothetical reader! That happens riiiight now.

A post from my loving sister, in anticipation of my surgery and also Pokemon Go.

So there’s this pretty rad thing we’ve got here at UCF where a student can do a Medical Withdrawal in the event of a medical emergency that “presents the completion of a semester.” It requires withdrawal from all your classes for the term as it is predicated on the idea that it is impossible for the student to finish his or her classes for the rest of the term, but you can petition for certain classes—say one you can finish online—to be completed for the semester and still counted for credit. The remaining credits will be withdrawn from, but under a WM code which denote the Medical Withdrawal.

All of the required forms, deadlines, and offices to contact can be found on the Academic Services website or in room 210 of Millican Hall.

My point is pretty simple: there is always hope. Yeah it sounds cheesy and looking back on this article I might wince, but hope was a sentiment I sorely needed during my summer of recovery, and one I had the most tenuous grip on. You may need to change your priorities, you may need to reassess your abilities, but there will always be services at UCF to ease your transition.